St. Louis Rams owner and sport mogul Stan Kroenke is exploring a bid for the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. The news is sure to fan the flames of speculation among Rams fans in the St. Louis area about a potential relocation ahead of a sensitive negotiation for the future of the Rams' lease on the Edward Jones Dome.
The Dodgers are up for sale after a bitter divorce battle between former owner Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie put the team's financial security in jeopardy. McCourt tried to sell off future broadcasting rights, in the neighborhood of $2.5 to $3 billion for 20 years, but MLB commissioner Bud Selig refused. In November, he put the team and its assets up for sale.
Monday was the deadline for early bids on the Dodgers. It is unknown whether or not he submitted a bid for the team. The banking firm overseeing the sale said that they received more than 10 bids. Monday's deadline means little. The bankers handling the sale can make exceptions to accommodate the process, including allowing bidders to merge their offers or accepting new bids for the team.
Known bidders include an investment group with Magic Johnson, who has been involved in the efforts to get an NFL franchise to L.A., Joe Torre and L.A. developer Rick Caruso, and several others.
An attempt to buy the Dodgers matches Kroenke's trend of scooping up trouble sports franchises sitting on a treasure chest of potential value. As for why he would want the Dodgers, look no further than McCourt's agreement to sell two decades of TV rights for $3 billion. That's a significant amount of "jack," and with the right approach, the team could probably get even more.
Kroenke owns professional sports properties in London, Denver and St. Louis. Occam's razor says that his reported efforts to purchase the Dodgers should be seen as nothing more than the possibility of acquiring another profitable business. I haven't heard many rumors about the Avalanche or Nuggets or Arsenal moving. The news will fuel further speculation about the Rams' future in St. Louis, which is only natural given the tenuous situation and the upcoming lease negotiations. Whether that's logical or not, an anxious fan base will greet the news with suspicion.
UPDATE: Kroenke does not "own" the Denver franchises anymore, having transferred them to his son to get in line with league rules about cross-ownership. Those rules would not apply in the case of the Dodgers since there is no NFL team in L.A. ... yet.